While her husband, Dr. Daniel Gabbay, proudly held the Bible on which she was sworn in, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen was excitedly welcomed to her new position. Because Secretary Vilsack was traveling, Assistant Secretary Pearlie Reed administered the oath before an excited group of USDA staff.
Hagen is no stranger to food safety as she makes her seamless transition from USDA Chief Medical Officer at Food Safety and Inspection Service, where she played a vital role in developing and executing the agency’s scientific and public health agendas.
As her oath was finished, Hagen sealed her vows with a kiss to her husband and an appreciative speech to the small crowd in the Secretary’s office. “I am so grateful to President Obama and Secretary Vilsack for this incredible opportunity to help the American people,” Hagen said. “With two young kids of my own, I know how important it is for parents to be able to put safe and healthy food on the dinner table every night – and I’m going to be working with the amazing staff here at FSIS every single day to make sure that happens.”
In a statement, Secretary Vilsack said of Hagen’s appointment, “There is no higher priority at USDA than ensuring that Americans have access to a safe and healthy food supply, and Dr. Hagen’s background as the Chief Medical Officer and senior executive within USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will enable her to successfully lead the effort to develop and execute the agency’s scientific and public health agenda, and continue to build the coordination with public health partners at federal, state, and local levels needed to achieve the objectives of President Obama’s Food Safety Working Group.”